BATLEY BULLDOGS have handed a contract to forward Nyle Flynn following a successful trial at the club, on the eve of their Championship campaign getting underway.
Ahead of the visit of Featherstone Rovers to the Fox’s Biscuits Stadium on Sunday (kick-off 3pm), head coach Craig Lingard has added to his ranks with the signature of the back-rower.
Flynn, 22, is a former Dewsbury Celtic junior who played in the Leeds Rhinos academy before joining Hunslet. He signed for Dewsbury Rams during the 2019 season and made five appearances, but he didn’t receive a new deal and crossed the district to go on trial with the Bulldogs aiming to land a contract.
After playing in three of Batley’s pre-season friendlies and impressing in training, a permanent deal was confirmed at the beginning of the week to see him follow in the footsteps of his father Adrian Flynn, a former Mount Pleasant favourite.
The Bulldogs have also had Sam Bowring and Dom Horn on trial in pre-season but Lingard says that any further deals may be dependent on arranging a dual-registration partnership with a Super League club’s reserve side.
“Without having a reserve team, it’s going to be difficult to give them much game time so we are making a few enquiries about whether we can dual-reg with a reserve team to get these guys some game time,” he said.
Batley’s first assignment of the campaign sees them face the side that lost the Championship Grand Final last season and, looking ahead to his first competitive match as boss, Lingard hopes his team can catch Featherstone cold.
“I think they’ve strengthened on top of what they had last year and they were Grand Finalists last year, so it is a tough start,” he said. “But I suppose you could say it’s a good time to get them, early in the season before they start winning lots of games.”
Featherstone may not have had time to hit their stride yet but the Bulldogs certainly go into the opener with reasons to be concerned, following a first-half showing which saw them trail 26-0 to a second-string Huddersfield Giants side before clawing back most of that deficit in last week’s final pre-season friendly.
Lingard admitted: “That first-half performance was not acceptable from us. Everything that we did well against Hull (the previous) week, defending the middle and being tough and aggressive in the ruck and the middle, we didn’t do.
“All the tries against Hull were out in the corners because they couldn’t play through us. This week the majority of tries that we conceded were actually through the middle so that was a real disappointment, because we want to pride ourselves on having a really tight, aggressive middle unit.
“In every aspect of rugby league in that first half, Huddersfield had the better of us. The challenge for us in the second half was to increase the performance by a massive amount and we got that, but the overriding thing from that was the first half performance because we’ve got to be better.”
Joe Taira picked up a knock in the defeat to Huddersfield which is likely to rule the prop out of the season opener, while James Brown (abductor), Tyler Dickinson (back), Anthony Bowman (concussion) and Johnny Campbell (hamstring) all missed that game and will be assessed ahead of Sunday.